President Donald Trump's choice for a replacement national security adviser has turned down the job.
Following the Feb. 13 forced resignation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for not revealing his dealings with Russian officials, Trump chose retired Vice Adm. Robert S. Harward to take his place, but Harward rejected the offer, reports The New York Times.
In announcing his decision, Harward was diplomatic. “This job requires 24 hours a day, seven days a week focus and commitment to do it right,” he said. “I currently could not make that commitment.” As another reason, he cited that his recent retirement from the military affords him “the opportunity to address financial and family issues that would have been challenging in this position.”
Harward's rejection is the latest in a series of blows to the Trump administration. In addition to Flynn's removal, Trump's nominee for secretary of labor, fast food CEO Andrew Puzder, withdrew himself from consideration due to strong bipartisan opposition.
Speaking anonymously to The New York Times, current and former national security officials said Harward was leery of Trump's unpredictable style and the chaotic environment of his White House.
Two other anonymous sources said Harward demanded his own team, but Trump would not agree. In particular, Harward allegedly wanted to get rid of Flynn's deputy, K.T. McFarland, a former Fox News pundit. But Trump wanted her to stay, reports CBS News.
According to yet another leak reported by Politico, Harward wanted to keep Trump's staff out of the National Security Council -- presumably a reference to Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon, who was appointed to the National Security Council in a highly controversial move.
According to CNN Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper, Harward's private response to Trump's offer was not as polite as his public statement, The Huffington Post reports. On Twitter, Tapper said: "A friend of Harward's says he was reluctant to take NSA job bc the WH seems so chaotic; says Harward called the offer a 's*** sandwich.'"